Date: December 11, 1975
Location: Ottawa, Canada
By: Alixe Carter
Newspaper: The Ottawa Journal
A young Montreal pilot is back home from the jungles of the Amazon, seeking financial support for an organization which is helping developing peoples in South America through an emergency mini-airline and radio network.
Pilot Jean Valiquette has told his story to Governor-General Leger in person. He has also explained the work being accomplished by Wings of Hope.
At a brief ceremony at Rideau Hall Mr. Valiquette presented the governor-general with a compass symbolizing the aircraft he had to abandon in the Peruvian jungle last month.
Wings of Hope is trying to raise at least $75,000 for a new aircraft. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) gives matching grants for those obtained in the private sector.
Noel Girard, president of Wings of Hope, said his organization maintains a radio network of 20 stations in the isolated villages of the Amazon basin. Its “airline” has consisted of two aircraft, one based in Satipo and the other in Iquitos. Now there is only one.
The villages can only be reached by boat. A plane links stations and villages within 10 minutes while a boat may take 10 to 20 days to reach a destination.
It is said that a one-minute flight equals a day’s walk in the jungle, Mr. Girard explained.
Wings of Hope is a non-denominational, non-profit agency. It is led by volunteer business persons who manage, organize and raise funds for its operations. The pilots receive a minimum pay for their service. Pierre Pelletier has more information at 514-288-6134.